The Archaeological Dig At The Conneries Site

August 2006 - The Site in its wild state. For decades it was used as a dumping area. Tony Doolin of Eactra Archaeological Services came out to have a look and suggest a plan of action. The wild state of the place was lovely, but brambly and prickly. The "wall" along the front was composed of dumpings. The interior was also full of extraneous materials.

Initial Trenching - Paddy Ryan, Currabaha, and his son Stephen worked along with Michéal Marrinan to dig trenches through the site looking for evidence of the house and outbuildings. The trench to the south side of the site produced no evidence of human habitation. The trench on the north side exposed the remains of a small shed built with small stones and since demolished. Decent building stone had been removed by earlier generations for use in local projects.
 
Most importantly, three large stones in a line were found along with evidence of a foundation wall. We had found the cottage site and it agreed remarkably well with the 1852 map of the area.
 
One abundant artifact were slates. Most were of a blue-green stone that is not local to the area. It is known that after the Conneries were evicted and transported to Australia, the authorities placed two policemen in the old cottage. Ironically, the cottage of these leading fighters against landlordism was turned into a barracks. It is likely that it was at this time that the roof was shingled to make it habitable for the constables assigned there. The authorities probably contracted for slate from some large supplier. Hence the non-local material.
 
As well, bits of more modern pottery and some older rough clay pottery were also found. The remains of an old iron pot may have been dumped on the site.
 
Foundations Exposed - The initial trenching had exposed three large stones and a bit of the foundation of the eastern (closest to the road) side of the cottage. A fine group of local volunteers turned up to help dig out and re-build the wall one stone high. Everyone set to with a will and some massive stones were put in place along the line of the old cottage wall. Willie Fennel, Bleantis, and Thomas Dunford, Bohadoon, were there. Ger Dunford, Bohadoon, wielded his shovel with a mighty force. John Carney and his son Séan, Knockboy, were there. Sean cleared a large area of smaller stones and used them to build a solid little decorative embankment around a set of Ash trees in the middle of the site. Kathleen Ahern came by to offer encouragement and Tom Corcoran, who has preserved the site all these long years, came along. Scott Simons, Currabaha, lacking the necessary "passport to shovel" took photos instead.
 
Except... when Michael Walsh of Coolnasmear came by, he took one look at the busy beehive of activity and wondered just how much of the old foundation was actually present. A few shovel-fulls of dirt and suddenly Michael had exposed the whole width of the foundation.
 
Total reassessment. The initial idea of rebuilding the cottage outline one or two stones high was discarded. An amazing amount of the original foundation was solidly in place. Why, there was no need to rebuild at all!
 
The goal then became to expose the remaining wall. The group worked along to the end of the cottage wall, headed along the stones westward toward the Colligan River - and came up with a blank. Except for the eastern wall, only the occasional stone remains of the other 3 walls of the cottage. Earlier generations have already reclaimed any good building stones for more modern works.

About Us

Comhaltas Craobh na gComarach is dedicated to the promotion of all forms of traditional Irish culture. The group's particular emphasis is education of the young generation. We are based in the townsland of Cúl na Smear in the smallest parish in Waterford about 6 miles North-East of Dungarvan.

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Comeraghs Comhaltas 
Craobh na gComarach
 

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